The Squeaky Wheel

The squeaky wheel gets the grease. This FANTASTIC ( Ok I am being facetious) American proverb is used often to express the concept that the problem that is the most obvious(or loudest) is the one most likely to get attention. The origins of this saying are unknown but the most current version of the saying is possibly attributed to the American humorist Josh Billings, who used it in his poem ” The Kicker” in 1870. It goes something like this.

I hate to be a kicker

I always long for peace.

But the wheel that squeaks the loudest,

Is the one that gets the grease.

The implication of this saying in our culture is that if you raise enough fuss, you will probably get noticed and have your problem addressed. It doesn’t say anything about the appropriateness of your level of fuss or the consequences to the people around you. In my mind, the use of this kind of logic has degenerated over generations to mean that stomping and screaming is the way to go to get what you want and that you don’t even need to consider others in the process. I see this every day in the world and it breaks my heart a little. It has become almost Machiavellian in terms of the ends justifying the means. I feel that people nowadays allow themselves carte blanche justification of any methods necessary to achieve their desired result. On top of that, this type of behavior gets rewarded every day, while we sit and wonder why it continues at the same time. It’s as if we can no longer hear those individuals who try to express themselves with dignity, respect, and tact. We skip right over their concerns because they are not loud enough. We are so distracted, overwhelmed and focused on the chaos of the squeaky wheels that we can no longer process quiet. Oddly enough, we do not actually recognize their behavior as acceptable, but we try whatever we can to make it go away anyway, rewarding them with what they want in the process. This tacitly sends the message to continue the bad behaviors because they are successfully getting the desired results. Why do we do it? Do we really think that the squeaky wheels will actually settle down if we give them what they want? Not gonna happen folks. Those wheels will just keep squeakin and sending us in every direction but the right one.

Have a great day everyone.

Dr. Katz

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